Historic Detroit

Standard Accident Insurance Co. Building

This eight-story building stands along Cass Park. Designed by Albert Kahn, it was built for the Standard Accident Insurance Co.

When it was built in 1920, Temple Street was known as Bagg Street, as the nearby Masonic Temple had not been built yet. Cass Park was still on the outskirts of town at the time.

The building was made of concrete with a steel skeleton, with a front facade of Bedford stone. It featured a number of luxuries for the company’s employees, including a recreation room, a first aid room, a smoking room and a garage in back. The amenities were “to assure the comfort and welfare of the company’s many employees,” the Free Press wrote Feb. 8, 1920, in announcing the new building.

Standard Accident Insurance was founded in 1884 in the Campau Block on Griswold Street, and grew quickly with the advent of the automobile. It issued both accident and health policies. The firm was founded by some of the city’s most respected citizens, such as seed magnate Dexter M. Ferry, real estate developer Francis Palms, lumber tycoons Simon J. Murphy and David Whitney Jr., and fur baron Traugott Schmidt.

In more recent years, the building served as the base of operations for Wayne County Social Services and the Wayne County Public Service Department.

Though the company is gone, its name is still chiseled into a frieze above the main entrance on Temple Street.